Developers in Ten Sleep, as well as other areas, recently made the decision to change climbing route names that could make groups of people feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. That’s great. As a community, we should work to make our sport more inclusive. There are still plenty of unfortunate route names out there, so there's a lot more work to be done.
For those who aren't familiar, here's some background on how climbing routes are named: One day someone climbs a route and then makes up the name, and then we call it that. That’s it. El Capitan sat there for 220 million years before someone pointed to the prow and said, “That’s the Nose” and then everyone was like, “Yeah, totally. The Nose.” So, maybe route names aren’t all that important, and we shouldn’t be precious about them for reasons that so often hold back the human race, like “tradition” and “preserving history.”
If, say, the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone had been called "Mom **** **** *** **** **** ****er," most people would agree that we should change the name. It's in a national park, it belongs to all of us. Everyone should be able to enjoy it. The vast majority of climbs in the US are located on public land, so let's hold ourselves to the same standard.
If you’re a first ascensionist who has named a route something regrettable in the past, you have the opportunity to do the right thing. Consider changing it to one of the names below. If you’re a first ascensionist, and you’re considering a name for your new line that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, crass, or anything else that would make people feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, use one of the names below instead. These 100 route names are provided free of charge to anyone who needs them.
- The Direct Route—It’s worked for plenty of other routes
- The Indirect Route—Actually has not been used before, according to a Mountain Project search
- Route #62,485–I don’t know how many routes exist to date, but yours could be the 62,485th
- The Nose—People all have noses, why not all cliffs?
- Carl—It's worked for plenty of people named Carl
- Pizza—For a delightful route that everyone will enjoy
- The Crimplympics
- Lightening Bolts—Maybe this a route that was retrobolted, so the bolts make you feel lighter when you climb it now
- Ledgend—For a great route that ends on a ledge
- Cam Pain Campaign—A sharp finger crack
- Tricameral Legislature—Some Gunks route, probably
- Stopper and Go—A route with a big runout above a stopper
- Carabinaribbean Cruise—It's stupid, but you can use it. Why not?
- Harness the Power—You know, because climbers wear harnesses. Usually.
- Rack or Roll—For a low-angle trad route. Bring the rack or...
- Not My Problem—For when someone else let's you name their boulder problem
- Picnic Pleaser—This is the name of a sandwich I like at the local bagel shop. It could also make a good route name, whether or not you're referencing the sandwich
- Janice—It's worked for plenty of people named Janice
- Ornithopter—It suggests that it's going to make you flap your wings, and it's fun to say
- Intersloper—For a route with a sloper right where you don't want it
- Careless Whipper
- Wham!—A highball, while we're on the George Michael theme
- Crater Lake—Also a highball
- 🤯—Just to be clear, it's not called "Head Explode Emoji," it's called "🤯"
- Jasper—This is my dog's name, and I love him. I'd be stoked if you named your route after my dog
- Fallafel—It's barely a pun, but it is
- Curtain Call—For an ice route with a curtain feature
The Nose 2: The Nose's Revenge—Why aren't route sequels a thing
Electronics—I used a random word generator for this and the next 9 names
Cellar—A cave boulder problem, probably
Earthwax—Not sure what this is, but it does sound neat
Drawer—A great option for a sport route at a mostly trad area
Breathe—Kind of intimidating. Maybe like a hard, runout route
Auditor—Also kind of intimidating, like it’ll audit your ability on that style of climbing
Roll With the Punches—I used a random phrase generator for this and the next 9 names
Up in Arms
High and Dry
Out on a Limb
Head Over Heels
In the Red—For a route at the Red
Not All It's Cracked Up To Be
Wake Up Call
Tug of War
The Nose 3: Back in Time
Scarlett—It’s clever if the route has pin scars
Jamthony—Jams + Anthony
Crimpstina—Crimps + Christina
Crimpstopher—Crimps + Christopher
Kneebarbara—I don’t need to explain this
The Green Route—Maybe for a route with a lot of lichen or moss
Gray Night—For a granite route
Lemons and Limestone—For a limestone route
A Line in the Sand—Some Indian Creek route
Head in the Sand—Some Indian Creek offwidth
Basalt and Pepper—For a basalt route
Quartz Conglomerate Incorporated Inc.—For a quartz conglomerate route
The Nose 4: Rise of the Space Captain
Clean Slate—For a difficult friction slab
Side Splitter—For a corner crack
Cornered—For a corner
Corner Store—For a corner
Coroner Corner—For a hard/scary corner
Two Fists to Freedom—A route with a sustained fist stack offwidth
Super Spicy Chicken Wings—A poorly protected offwidth
Knot Checker—For a route that's difficult to onsight
Plunger—Another route that's difficult to onsight
The Decline—A slab
Frosted Flake—Probably a mixed route, with ice and a flake
The Nose 5: Back to School
The Good Time Climb
Frank—It's worked for plenty of people named Frank
Potato Stranger—The names don't have to make sense. You can just put two random nouns together
Bird Boardgame—Alliteration is fun, too
The Aardvark—Anything with "the" sounds mysterious
Armoire—Some words sound cool on their own
The Economics of Clouds—You can also make up phrases that sound poignant, but don't mean anything
Destiny's Shipping Route
If—That sounds thought-provoking on its own!
Pumpernickel—That has "pump" in it, which is a climbing term
Ftorpliprioprity—That's a word I made up. 100 route names was ambitious, and now it's after 7 and I want to stop working. You can do that, though—make up words
The Nose Sit
As you can see, route names don't have to be good or make sense. They only need to identify a section of rock, so we have a shared understanding of which section of rock we're all talking about. If you can't do that without offending or harming others, just choose one of the names above instead.
Read more Unsent.